With the ubiquity of mash-up megastars like Girl Talk, sampling has become something of an act of exhibitionism rather than a labor of love. The Avalanches, Australia's electronic golden boys, are masters of the mash-up craft; their 2000 studio album Since I Left You features more than 3,500 often obscure vinyl samples, and their best known track, "Frontier Psychiatrist," showcases their masterful capacity to mix, match, and splice seemingly disparate songs into one coherent unit.
But what distinguishes The Avalanches from the amateur mix master, trying to jam as many catchy hooks and recognizable snippets as possible into one song, is the love for narrative. "Since I Left You" is a swirling mass of '70s throwback strings and instrumentation, dripping with warmth and memory, that tells a story, even if it's unclear what that story is. Girl Talk may talk a lot, but he's not saying anything: for the Avalanches, it's as though every sample is a word, and the Avalanches wrote the greatest story they could with those words.
On iTunes: The Avalanches / "Since I Left You"